(h/t to Kiwi Blog)
New Zeland recently granted honorary citizenship to Yan Yongmin(闫永明), ex-CEO of Golden Horse Pharmaceutical, wanted for embezzling 100 million RMB (20 million RMB was finally returned by NZ authority after 4 years.)
what happened? It seems Falun Gong NZ, who is on the take from Yan, claims he might be persecuted if returned, and worked with couple NZ politicans, who are also on the take from Yan, to work the magic.
Yet ANOTHER anti-FLG bit from Charles Liu. You really do just love arguing with those guys don’t you? This is 1) Not about China, but is 2) a product of the judicial system that exists in China. Countries don’t extradite to China because people aren’t guaranteed a fair trial there, simple as that.
Charles Liu says
Sorry Admin, the title should be “80 million RMB”.
Charles Liu says
FOARP, I disagree with you:
1) the criminal involved is Chinese and the crime was committed in China
2) many countries have extradition treaties with China, including France, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Pakistan, Angola, with others in the works. As American I know precisely our witholding of extradition treaty has nothing to do with human rights.
@Charles Liu – The existence of an extradition treaty does not mean that these countries will actually extradite people, only that extradition is possible under the conditions set out in the treaty. Hence for years the US courts refused to extradite suspected IRA terrorists to the UK because they ‘would not receive a fair trial’ in UK courts, despite the existence of an extradition treaty between the UK and the US and ratified into US law in 1977. The European Court of Human Rights has also ruled that it would be against the European Convention of Human Rights for a country to extradite someone accused of a capital offence to the US. Similarly, courts the world over refuse to extradite people who can at least give some evidence that they are FLG practitioners and would not receive a fair trial on this basis to the PRC . This man may have been a criminal, he may have committed all the crimes he stands accused of and more, but as long as it is plain that China will not give them a fair trial, courts can refuse extradition if it is in accordance with national law. It remains clear that China is a country in which the courts do not make their decisions independent of government influence – and please, spare me the references to US cases, as I have already noted above, countries are already acting to place limits on extradition to the US.
I should also note that it is against Chinese law for a Chinese citizen to be extradited to another state, this is also true of France.
Plus, it would seem that this is not about China, instead it is about New Zealand and its handling of extradition cases. You would not even be mentioning this case if it were not for the fact that the man in question is associated with FLG. If you want to start ANOTHER “FLG is an evil cult” thread, why not do it on one of your own blogs?
Changed title as requested.
S.K. Cheung says
Seems almost libelous to say the politicians are “on the take” on the basis of that article.
As FOARP says, if China had a much better judicial system that inspired at least some international confidence in the prospects of an individual being extradicted to China of receiving a fair trial, perhaps she would not have so much trouble recovering fugitives who’ve fled the country. Maybe after CHarles is through with his FLG fascination, he’ll spend some pixels lamenting China’s judicial shortcomings…
Charles Liu says
Foarp, I again disagree with you:
– China has extradited wanted fellons from: Japan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Canada, even US in absence of extradition treaty.
– I only need one case where the Chinese government lost to show your blanket statement to be false. Such cases do exist.
@admin. I might be blind but I’m not seeing this post on the home page, just in the “recent comments” section.
@admin forget it, found it 🙂
@Charles Liu – As far as I am aware, the only people extradited from Chinese soil to the US have been extradited from Hong Kong or Macao. Even in the case of an American man who raped and murdered his own daughter extradition from mainland China was impossible, and he was only returned to the US whilst renewing his mainland China visa in Hong Kong. Extradition to the UK of UK citizens from China is also only possible under similar circumstances. As for the rest, Chinese law expressly forbids extradition of Chinese citizens to other countries, see Extradition Law of the People’s Republic of China (Order of the President No.42) Art. 8:
I just felt I had to deal with this highly mendacious claim:
I’m sorry, but this is total, utter rubbish. The fact that Alabama prosecutors failed against African-American defendants during the fifties does not mean that Alabama courts gave black defendants fair treatment, but the fact that the courts failed to convict people accused of lynching where there was clear evidence of guilt does mean they were biased. Likewise, the way in which FLG practitioners have been given extra-judicial prison-sentences without due process in the PRC does show that FLG practitioners may not expect a fair trial in the PRC. The fact that a few may have got off does nothing to dispell that – and here’s a tip, if you want to cite cases, you should just go ahead a do it, rather than merely say that you can cite cases. All you need do is post a link.
Finally, SKC is quite right, you have not offered any evidence that the politicians in question have been taking bribes. Either offer the evidence or apologise, but don’t just leave this totally unsupported accusation up there.
Charles Liu says
Forarp, don’t try to change the subject – it’s not about China extraditing criminals abroad. This question is would other country extradite criminals to China (given China’s legal system as you insinuated). And the answer is YES. Feel free to Google the countries I have listed above.
@Charles Liu – Please also feel free to google (and actually read for once) the extradition treaties and the exemptions under the treaties. All the cases you mentioned are countries which either forbid extradition of their own citizens and/or have put exemptions in the treaty disallowing extradition for political/religious crimes. At any rate, most countries do not allow extradition if it is reasonable to believe that they would infringe the human rights of the returnee, so all someone threatened with extradition need to do is argue convincingly that they are a member of a group which is subject to persecution in China and that the extradition is politically motivated. Please, don’t talk all that nonsense about the co-operative spirit of the Chinese government in this regard, Chinese citizens may not be extradited from China under an extradition treaty – that’s the law. In the absence of an extradition treaty foreign citizens resident in China may only be ‘extradited’ in the sense that the PRC government can cancel or refuse to renew their visas and then deport them to their country of origin – all of this is at the discretion of the Chinese government, and no defence of human rights being violated by such an ‘extradition’ may be raised.
And where is your evidence of bribery? Will you apologise if you cannot support your accusations? Given how long you went on about the He Kexin case – where those making accusations were actually able to provide evidence in the form of statements and documents which Chinese journalists and government officials made over the course of more than a year but which they now claim were made ‘in error’ – it is amazing to see you make blanket accusations of corruption in the New Zealand government without offering even the slightest shred of evidence. This is not a freedom of speech issue, this is an issue of you quite simply making any accusation you like without feeling you have to provide any evidence to support it. There is plenty of evidence to support suspicions of undue influence over the decision making process, as well as suspicions that citizenship was gained using dubious documents, but simply going directly from this to saying without caveat that bribery was involved is a step way too far.
Oh, and whilst we’re at it:
Felon, not Fellon.
New Zealand, not New Zeland.
Honorary, not honoary.
Charles Liu says
Foarp, again, don’t try to change the subject. It’s not about weither a country will extradit its citizens. Here’s what you wrote:
“a product of the judicial system that exists in China. Countries don’t extradite to China because people aren’t guaranteed a fair trial there”
And I’ve demonstrated your blanket claim to be false by 1) many countries have extradition treaties with China; 2) many countries have in fact extradited criminals to/from China.
Let’s get this one out of the way first.
@Charles Liu – But those countries sign those treaties in full knowledge that their own citizens will not be subject to them, like I keep saying. Plus even foreign citizens resident in signatory countries can claim protection from extradition under exemptions in the treaty, plus human rights legislation means that extradition the courts are not minded to accept will not happen, and all of these defences are raised very often. My statement is true as a point of fact – all you need do is go and take a look at the number of people who have been able to avoid extradition or deportation to China by claiming to be FLG practitioners/pro-democracy activists/Christians/etc. It would be impossible to raise this defence if it were not for the human rights situation in China. So once again, this is not a question of other countries being evil, this is a situation where China is shooting itself in the foot.
@ Charles Liu & FOARP: Charles, I found this in Prof. Rowan’s paper, “The legal system remains firmly under CCP control. Party members often determine court decisions, officials press judges to throw out suits over property rights, and citizens’ legal rights to counsel are ignored when the Party or local officials have already decided the case.”
I don’t want to speak for FOARP, but I think this might be the point he was driving at. By claiming membership in FLG or another group that is banned in China, it is pretty easy to avoid extradition by using that foreign country’s legal system. A sharp lawyer can make a pretty good case. My guess is that Mr. Yan is playing the system to his benefit and as FOARP has pointed out, China has boxed herself into a corner because under her legal system, the party has veto power over the courts when making decisions. Until this changes, cases such as this will probably continue to avoid extradition, regardless of treaty or precedent.
S.K. Cheung says
as for your much-ballyhooed list of countries with extradition treaties with China, Praise Him once again that Canada isn’t on it. And I’m just curious…other than to China, could a felon anywhere avoid extradition to any other country by claiming to be FLG and citing resultant religious persecution and inability to receive a fair trial as legitimate reasons? If not, then you’d have to ask yourself what makes China “special”…and Steve seems to have found the answer in the paper you cited.
Charles Liu says
One more time Foarp, don’t try to change the subject. It’s not about weither a country will extradit its citizens. Here’s what you wrote (NOTHING about any country extraditing their citizen to China):
“a product of the judicial system that exists in China. ***Countries don’t extradite to China*** because people aren’t guaranteed a fair trial there”
And I’ve demonstrated your blanket claim to be false by 1) many countries have extradition treaties with China; 2) many countries have in fact extradited criminals to China.
Let’s get this one out of the way first.
S.K. Cheung says
are you trying to score points, or to make a legitimate point?
Your list in #3 counts 11 countries. Considering how many countries are in the world, is 11 out of that number “many”; I’d just as soon say “several”. But arguing that means nothing, and leads nowhere. So why bother?
Likewise, FOARP phrased it in absolute terms, and you’ve found exceptions. Good on you. A cautionary tale for avoiding absolutes. But remember the exceptions don’t negate the rule. So you’ve made your point. Isn’t it time to move on. And since your examples are exceptions to the rule, shouldn’t the focus not be on the exceptions, but on “the rule”? And whose fault is it that China is subject to such a rule? You get 3 guesses. I hope you’re not arguing that the fact that some countries might extradite to China from time to time is vindication for the Chinese judicial system. Then again, knowing your proclivities, you just might be.
So, begging FOARP’s pardon, may I change your beef in question to “(many) countries (often) don’t extradite to China because people (may not be) guaranteed a fair trial there…” – can we move on now?
Speaking of extradition, someone might be able to answer this question for me. When I lived in Taiwan, every time a criminal was about to be caught, he/she would flee the country and run to China, where they were safe from extradition back to Taiwan. My guess was that China would not deal with Chen’s government and so gave these people asylum. Since Ma’s government has come into power, has that changed? Do Taiwan and China now have an extradition treaty in place? If not, are they working on it and is it on the agenda for Chen Yunlin’s visit?
Allen, this might be up your alley…
S.K. Cheung says
your example makes me think of phrases like rock/hard place; frying pan/fire; devil/deep blue sea 🙂
@Charles Liu – I cannot understand this ridiculous word-parsing – what I said was quite clear, that being: “Where countries don’t extradite, they do so because they are not guaranteed a fair trial there”, this is a meaning quite easily carried by the phrase “countries don’t . . . . “. If I said “People don’t like X because Y”, this would not mean that all people don’t like X, just that those people who don’t like X do so because Y – I’m sorry to have to deliver an English lesson in this fashion, but it clearly is quite necessary. In fact no country which does not have laws banning the extradition of nationals has signed an extradition treaty with China because it would be an unequal treaty, and this is another good reason not to do so.
Now, where is your evidence that these men were taking bribes?
One other case that I had read about somewhere is Wang Zhenzhong (王振忠), who was a top traffic police official in Fujian until 2002, but also involved in various rackets involving entertainment venues, car inspections, traffic tickets, etc. After falling under suspicion, he fled to the US with $10 million and some secret police documents detailing investigations into FLG. He was able to obtain asylum by claiming he would be subject to persecution in China as he was a FLG sympathizer (maybe he was, but it seems extremely “convenient”). When China sought to have him extradited, though Interpol, the request was refused. He later died of cancer in the US.
So, putting aside the issue of whether other countries should extradite suspects back to China generally, given this New Zealand case also, one does wonder if there is a trend of clever corrupted officials taking advantage of Western countries sensitivities on human rights by falsely claiming to be dissidents.
Well, I think this is probably true – it _is_ convenient to use FLG as a pretext for asylum. It’s a bit like all these honorary citizenships given to Li Hongzhi by various US cities.
I can agree that China has painted itself into a corner with it’s judicial system, but imagine the scientologists being the ones persecuted… I would almost welcome that. Almost. 😉
Also, as an aside, Interpol is dubious in some ways, claiming not to have any political agendas, yet Slobodan Milosevic was on their wanted list. It’s not just China who tries to use this system to get their political prisoners.
S.K. Cheung says
I think you’re right. It seems when American criminals feel the heat at their door, they suddenly discover Jesus/god. So when Chinese criminals get themselves out of the country, they can call on FLG.
Same as always. Charles Liu uses this blog as a mega-phone for his own brand of wing-nuttery, make random allegations which he cannot substantiate (e.g., the people who seized on comments and documents of Chinese journalists and officials as proof of He Kexin being under-age were acting out of hatred; NZ politicians accepting bribes to grant honorary citizenship to those who claim to be FLG practitioners) and then refuses to respond when people call him out on it.
Charles Liu says
Steve, China has sent wanted criminal back to Taiwan:
Kalmany, thank you for the additional example.
The reports are clear on what happened with Yan – he emptied the coffer of a SOE he help privatize, took off to Australia with 100 million RMB. And he sought help to avoid prosecution from NZ politicians who are willing to accept Yan’s money under a fake name.
There’s a Chinese saying – “Zhou beats Huang; one want to hit, one want to be hit”.
Charles Liu says
Here’re more details on the Yan VIP citizenship scandal:
– NZ government is aware of Yan using multiple passports and identities, and falsefied his citizenship appllication
– NZ government is also aware Yan is a wanted felon per Interpol
– The politicians lobbied for Yan’s citizenship, against the advice of officials, all have personal relationship to Yan and his wife
– VIP citizenship was granted thru political meanuver, despite two ongoing investigations into possible fraud and money-laundering
– One of the two $5000 political donation from Yan under fake name was not declared
– Yan is now under investigation for immigration fraud
So no actual evidence of bribery, only (quite justified) suspicions. Are you going to alter what you wrote in your original post?
Or are you at least going to spell ‘honorary’, ‘felon’ and ‘New Zealand’ correctly?
@Charles Liu #27: Thanks for the info. I’m glad to see things have changed since I lived there.
Ahhh … do we really have “due process” in the West? In my ethics class in law school, we talked about this extensively….
The fact is, it is very costly – both in terms of time and effort – to use the courts to seek “justice.”
In the U.S. (not sure about Europe), most cases do not go to trial – they settle. Statistically – you can pretty much guarantee the outcome of litigation and/or settlement based by comparing the amount of money spent by the two sides.
Yes – once in a blue moon – you do get a case with results that screams “JUSTICE IS SERVED.” But the majority of the time, “due process” – like politics – is a dog-eat-dog world…
@Allen – However, if someone is extradited to the US on fraud charges, you can 1) be sure that they won’t suffer the death penalty for that, 2) Be sure that charges of fraud are actually what he will be tried on, 3) he won’t disappear into ‘re-education through labour’ without even facing trial, 4) Won’t suffer cruel and unusual punishment without remedy, 5) Will have a reasonably fair and impartial trial. Guantanamo and torture are a terrible stain on the escutcheon of the US, but none of the inmates of Guantanamo arrived there through having been extradited from another country, and were the US to attempt to extradite someone from Europe who could reasonably claim that he might suffer torture if extradited, the European Court of Human Rights would definitely have something to say about it.
The fact that much is settled out of court through pre-trial settlements does not mean that people are being denied access to justice, only that it is far more convenient for the parties to settle in this fashion, and by doing so they can limit their exposure. Whilst there are access to justice issues involved where lawyers have stretched out proceedings in an effort to bankrupt the opposition, or merely so as to fill their own pockets, this is not really a problem in the criminal law field. The main problem surrounding criminal proceedings is plea bargaining, where people plead guilty to crimes so as to receive a reduced sentence, but this does not constitute in and of itself a denial of access to justice.
That said, there are circumstances where people might refuse extradition to western countries on human rights grounds. I can easily imagine a foreign court refusing extradition to the UK of an 10 year old suspect who, whilst over the age of criminal responsibility in the UK, would not be old enough to face trial in many countries. Likewise people accused of so-called ‘hate’ crimes, such as holocaust denial, incitement to racial hatred etc. are unlikely to be extradited to the countries in which they are crimes from those in which they are not crimes. However, both of these cases would probably be dealt with by the principle that a country will not extradite someone for doing something in another country that would not be a crime in the country from which extradition is being demanded, rather than explicitly through the exercise of human rights legislation.
You bring many good points. I’ll try to answer this way:
Regarding your points on the death penalty and cruel and unusual punishment – I think in Europe, the death penalty has pretty much been abolished in all cases. In the U.S., however, it has not – at least in criminal cases. There are currently heated arguments on both sides whether death penalty is “cruel and unusual” under the U.S. Constitution, but no consensus yet.
In the U.S. and Europe, I don’t think any govt hand out death sentences for white collar crimes. But in developing countries – such as China, where most people live in poverty – white collar crimes is not just about stealing money, it can also be a potent symbol of theft of livelihoods.
Given that context, I don’t think the mere fact that someone will face the “death penalty” for “fraud” should, in itself, be evidence that justice is denied.
Regarding your general point about “due process” in China, let me comment this way.
I always thought the point of extradition treaties (admittedly not my expertise) is to establish a mechanism for countries to return foreign citizens to their own countries to answer for crimes they have been accused of in their own countries.
Yes – there are always concerns about whether the foreign countries have comparable standards of “due process” and “human rights” – hence there are always “out” clauses in these treaties. But the scope of these “outs” must be limited to extraneous circumstances. Otherwise, why even bother with the concept of sending foreigners back to their own country to “face justice”?
Based on your post above, I’d say you think that the Chinese legal system as a whole is so corrupt (so mixed with politics) as to be incapable of producing any due process. If that’s truly so, the point should not be accusing China of not having due process in every case, but to abolish those extradition treaties altogether! 😀 (But conversely, if the different nations do decide to keep the extradition treaties, I think they should mean something.)
Now about your comments on criminal cases – I still maintain that money play a decisive role. We all know that lack of money will definitely lead to injustice. But I assert also that loads of money can also buy you out of justice. Consider the OJ Simpsom case … (ok that’s a cheap shot).
But barring crimes with very clear evidence (there are not that many, esp. since the burden of proof for the prosecutor is very high (in the U.S. the burden is “beyond any reasonable doubt”)), a good, high price defense team can often get one out of the reach of the justice system.
With all that said, I will also say this. If I am ever prosecuted under the law, I’d rather be tried in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. While I know money can buy justice in the States, I also know that as a system, the U.S. system is probably as an impartial and fair a system as there can be (ok maybe I have to say that, as a member of the California bar…).
Know too little about the justice systems of Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc. to make a comment about them…
Charles Liu says
Allan, thank you:
“I always thought the point of extradition treaties (admittedly not my expertise) is to establish a mechanism for countries to return foreign citizens to their own countries”
– Exactely, China had sought Yan who is a Chinese national when he committed the economic crime.
“If that’s truly so, the point should not be accusing China of not having due process – in every case, but to abolish those extradition treaties altogether”
– Again spot on. These extradition treaties are all signed in last couple years – as result of improvement in China’s legal and criminal justice system. And while there are debates on sensitive national security and political issues, it doesn’t apply to Yan’s case at all, as he’s commited really obvious economic crime.
BTW, if Yan is ever exhnorated of the economic crime he’s convicted of, I would not hesitate one minute to update my blogpost on his innocence, unlike the bloggers who trumpted dubious evidence against He Kexin, then go silent after He’s exonoration.
S.K. Cheung says
In China’s case, I do wonder why countries would bother signing treaties with her at this time. Unless you’re being accused of running away from a traffic ticket, and if China wants to drag your sorry butt back there to face the music for such a high crime, they’d probably get their way. But if someone is being accused of anything remotely severe enough to warrant consideration for extradition, the range of penalties will likely include death, or it would likely not be difficult to implicate political interference, such that the typical refrain of “inability to receive a fair trial in China” could easily be invoked. So again, unless and until China changes her system, I think she will likely be S.O.L. most of the time.
So in that sense, it does seem that extradition treaties with CHina are a waste of time. But since countries having such treaties with CHina at least looks good on paper for CHina, doubt China will be in any hurry to renege on them any time soon, even if they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Cuz if ever there was a country that places a premium on appearances…